Red Cedar Falls Track
North Coast NSW
Dorrigo National Park
One of the more challenging tracks in Dorrigo, rewarding hikers with the tallest waterfall in the park on a tracked walk.
This lightly trafficked walk starts from the Never Never Picnic Area, at the end of Dome Road in Dorrigo.
There are three trailheads at the picnic area – two at the rear of the picnic area (right-hand side for the Blackbutt Trail, left-hand side for the Rosewood Creek Circuit) and one on the left-hand side of the road as you enter the picnic area (the end of the Rosewood Creek Circuit).
Start along the Blackbutt Track, following Sassafras Creek (on your right). There are a few opportunities to hop into the creek and get a closer inspection of the cascades and natural rock pools.
Soon after at another junction, continue right (following signs to Red Cedar Falls). Heading left takes you back to the picnic area via the return leg of Casuarina Falls Track.
From here, the trail begins to trace the ridgeline of the Dorrigo plateau, through lush rainforest.
The next junction is for the side-track to Red Cedar Falls (look for the directional sign at a sharp right turn).
At 58 metres high, the spectacular Red Cedar Falls is the tallest waterfall (on a tracked walk) in Dorrigo National Park.
There are numerous excellent viewing positions at the base of the falls where you can watch as Rosewood River plunges over the escarpment to the shallow pool below.
The track to the base of the falls is very steep, starting along switchbacks through towering red cedars and bangalow palms, before an even steeper rocky step section closer to falls, and one small loose shale section immediately preceding the falls.
Of course, the steep descent on the way to the base means a steep ascent on the way back. In total this side-track is 2.7 kms return and involves 169 metres of elevation.
The walk down to Red Cedar Falls requires moderate fitness and is probably not suitable for people with balance issues, but is not difficult for experienced walkers.
Once returning back to the main track, take the sharp left and retrace your steps to the picnic area.
There is the option to either take the Casuarina Falls Track (right at the first junction) or Blackbutt Track (right at the second junction) back to the picnic area. For more views of the creek, the Blackbutt Track is recommended.
For more experienced walkers, or those wanting to see all the Never Never section of Dorrigo National Park has to offer, the combined walks of the Rosewood Creek Circuit, with Casuarina Falls and Red Cedar Falls side-trails, is strongly recommended.
While this direct out-and-back to Red Cedar Falls shaves about 2 kms off the total length of the longer option, the additional waterfalls and rock pools to be explored on the longer track are fantastic and well worth the extra effort.
There are toilets, picnic tables and BBQs at the picnic area.
Dorrigo National Park can be visited as part of the 185 km Waterfall Way scenic drive from Coffs Harbour to Armidale.
Track: The track involves a well-maintained graded path to the junction for Red Cedar Falls, followed by switchbacks, rocky steps and a loose shale section. The track is well-signed and relatively easy to follow.
Difficulty: The track to the junction for Red Cedar Falls has a relatively gentle elevation profile and is suitable for most walkers, however the side-track to Red Cedar Falls requires moderate fitness and involves a decent amount of elevation.
If exploring around the falls more closely, be careful of slippery rocks and sheer edges, especially downstream of the falls.
Direction: This walk can be performed either as an out and back track (go and return along the Blackbutt Track) or as a loop track (go via the Blackbutt Track and return via the Casuarina Falls Track), with an out-and-back section to the falls (recommend doing the latter option in an anti-clockwise direction).
The trail starts from behind the Never Never Picnic Area, at the end of Dome Road in Dorrigo, approximately 5 hours drive south of Brisbane, 1.5 hours drive east of Armidale, 1 hour drive west of Coffs Harbour or 6 hours drive north of Sydney.
The last 7 kms of road to the picnic area is unsealed, however a regular 2WD vehicle should be fine in good conditions.
Parking is ample for however trafficked the walks are at this location.
best time to go
The walk can be completed year-round.
Like any walk involving waterfalls, it is best done after recent rain. However, if completing after recent rain, be sure to check the New South Wales Parks and Wildlife Service website for updates regarding flooding and track closures.
Note that there are park fees associated with entering many national parks in New South Wales. Check the New South Wales Parks and Wildlife Service website for more information.
Remember, whenever venturing into the outdoors, practice the Leave No Trace principles and be considerate of others. This means: dispose of your waste properly, don't remove things or move things from their natural position and respect all wildlife. Also be sure to plan ahead and adequately prepare for any adventure.
I respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which all activities listed on this website are found, as well as Elders past, present and emerging. I strive to not promote sites where requests have been made for people not to explore due to the cultural significance of the site to Indigenous peoples, or note how to respectfully visit a site. If I have a promoted a site with cultural significance, please send me a message and let me know.